Updated: Apr 3, 2022
London is renowned for its fantastic museums and galleries. They cover all aspects of life and culture and many have a long and fascinating history.
The museums and galleries of London attract large numbers of domestic and international tourists and visitors as well as the locals, including the thriving student community of this great cultural capital.
The ten selected here are cultural icons that you may have heard of, even if you have never been to London. Apart from the Royal Academy of Arts, they are also free of charge except for temporary exhibitions.
These are mature collections with plenty to discover and enjoy; so a long visit, at least a full afternoon, is highly recommended. If you are lucky enough to have several days in London, more than one visit to each museum and gallery would be rewarded with rich insights.
The delightful cafés in each attraction will keep you refreshed and ensure you are ready to see more wonderful exhibits after your breaks. For those aspiring to build their own library or art collection the gift shops and bookshops in these attractions will provide ample inspiration.
Study of Heads, Mother and Child, between 1509 and 1511 by Raphael (1483–1520). Exhibited at the British Museum.
Find out more:
The British Museum [Link: www.britishmuseum.org]
The Lamentation at the Foot of the Cross (c. 1634) by Rembrandt
The Victoria & Albert Museum [Link: www.vam.ac.uk]
The Gloucester Candlestick (early 12th century)
The Natural History Museum [Link: www.nhm.ac.uk]
As reported in The Comic News (July 18, 1863)
The Science Museum [Link: www.sciencemuseum.org.uk]
Replica of the Crick and Watson DNA model (1953)
The Museum of London [Link: www.museumoflondon.org.uk]
View of the Smithfield Market, 1855. In 2015 the Museum of London announced plans to move there.
The National Gallery [Link: www.nationalgallery.org.uk]
The Arnolfini Portrait (1634) by Jan van Eyck
The National Portrait Gallery [Link: www.npg.org.uk]
The Chandos portrait of William Shakespeare (between 1600 and 1610)
Tate Britain [Link: www.tate.org.uk]
Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais (1851–52)
Tate Modern [Link: tate.org.uk]
Water-Lilies by Claude Monet (1916)
Royal Academy of Arts [Link: www.royalacademy.org.uk]